Readers’ wildlife photographs

If you sent good photos and they haven’t yet appeared, don’t despair. I have a backlog. But do continue to send me good ones, as the tank will run dry if it’s not replenished.

Today we have some more photos by reader Ken Phelps. They are all missing species IDs, so readers are welcome to identify the beasts (and plants!).

I may have posted this first one before, but you can’t see it often enough:


Was taking pictures of bees just after a thundershower. This guy had just been grazed by a drop, leaving his hair matted.


For some reason this face reminds me of the guy in the autogyro in Mad Max:



Some serious eating going on:


One fat spider:


In Corcovado Nat’l Park, Costa Rica:


Romance on a fennel plant:


Gull landing:


This was on an early spring hike. A mosquito had hatched a bit early on an unseasonably warm day and then frozen on the snow. The sun was out and his darker color had caused him to warm up and melt a little vault in the surface of the snow.



  1. Stephen Barnard
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The monkey is a white-headed capuchin (Cebus capucinus).

  2. darrelle
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    All nice pictures, but the mosquito one is a stand out. Especially with the description.

    began playing in my mind as I was looking at that picture.

  3. Posted February 13, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink


  4. Posted February 13, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Well that’s a fun and different collection of snaps. Ladybugs, amirite?

  5. Posted February 13, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    It’s a crane fly, not a mosquito.- MC

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Agreed. I was just going to say.

    • RA
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      It’s a fungus gnat of the genus Bolitophila (family Bolitophilidae). 🙂

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:35 am | Permalink

        Do they have glow-wormy larvae?

    • RA
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      And the other fly belongs to the family Tachinidae.

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Probably too many other variables going on to get any statistical support on this, but on looking at the monkey shot, would Merkins be more likely to accept evolution if there were any endemic primates? For that matter, have there ever been (from fossil record)? I don’t think so, and if that’s right, there’s another specious argument for the good Fr. (Sorry if that’s already been noted. I didn’t read all the comments on that post.)

  7. Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it is a mosquito or a tipulid. I think it is some type of predatory fungus gnat – a keroplatidae. This is based on the wing venation. On Bugguide it reminds me of Macrocera, but I’m not a fly person. Pretty sure the spider is Neoscona.

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    The fly on the flower is probably a stable fly. The females suck blood. This one may be a male.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and it hurts when they bite!

  9. Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I love the gull feet! And the flying insect in snow, too. Those especially, but as usually, all are good.

  10. Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Nice pictures! I don’t know the species of the first gull, but whatever it is, it definitely looks like a juvenile gull. The second one could very well be a Glaucous-winged Gull – right body, head, and bill shape for a female – but no way to tell for sure without a better idea of the tint on the back and wings.

  11. Anna
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    1. Cirsium arvense, Canada thistle. Please help me out. This does look like a female flower and C. arvense is dioescious with male and female flowers on separate plants.
    2. This feels like a Senecio of some sort.
    3. Could be our PNW native Rubus ursinus, trailing blackberry (AKA devil’s shoelaces), a male flower (another dioecious plant). But likely the invasive Himalayan blackberry Rubus discolor.
    Thanks Ken and Jerry.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      I was hoping you’d chime in about the plants! Thanks!

  12. Mark R.
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great assortment of photos. The fungus gnat in snow looks like those insects caught in amber. Mosquitoes are usually what I’ve seen in pictures, so I would have thought this a mosquito too without paying close attention.
    I’m a sucker for good B&W shots and that landing gull is a beaut!
    It’s amazing how fat Neoscona “orb weaver” spiders get. And even when they’re huge, they are still deadly and nimble on their beautiful webs.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:44 am | Permalink

      I was just thinking that a decent photo of an organism is as good as a fossil (and easier to date). Could be used as a type specimen if it was the best available data.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 14, 2015 at 4:57 am | Permalink

        You are on to something there; modern phones are exceptional cameras that capture further than fossils…and can do that too.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 14, 2015 at 5:00 am | Permalink

          And pictures capture so much more about the living animal–posture, for one.

  13. jaxkayaker
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    That’s a great shot showing the haltere of the dipteran in the last photo.

  14. Ken Phelps
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Geez, do I feel dumb. I really should figure out what all those things I point the camera at really are! I use a kind of creationist taxonomy – bug type things, bird looking things, run you down and eat you things, etc.

    • Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      But what gorgeous shots! Wish I could take photos as good as yours. Plus there’s a team of readers here to help out, eh. 🙂

      The purple flower looks like a Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense).

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Hey, just so long as you don’t post a picture of a bat, and call it “bird looking thing,” we’re good.

      Great pictures! Especially the monkey!

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted February 13, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        If I ever use the word “kind” in this context, do please shoot me.

  15. Diane G.
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh, splendid insect/arachnid macros! And that gull is superb. Thank you, Ken!

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